If your child has been lethargic, irritable, or not drinking or eating well, these symptoms should begin to improve in 1 - 2 days.
(Note: if your child has a brain or nervous system disorder, or has abnormal changes or defects in their urinary tract, talk to your doctor before following these instructions.)
Treating the Infection
Your child will be given antibiotics to be taken by mouth at home. These may come as pills, capsules, or a liquid.
For a simple bladder infection, your child will likely take antibiotics for 3 - 5 days. If fever was present your child may take antibiotics for 10 - 14 days.
Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Report these to your child's doctor and do not just stop giving your child the pills.
It is important that your child finishes all the antibiotics, even if when they begin to feel better. Urinary tract infections that are not well treated and become worse can hurt to your child's kidneys.
Your doctor may also give your child a drug to relieve the burning pain and urgent need to urinate. The urine will have an orange or red color to it when taking this drug. Your child will still need to take antibiotics.
Your child should urinate often and drink plenty of fluids.
Preventing Future Urinary Tract Infections
Changes in bathing or hygiene may help prevent some UTIs:
Avoid giving your child bubble baths.
Have your child wear loose-fitting underpants and clothing. Wear cotton-cloth underwear.
Keep your child's genital area clean to prevent bacteria from entering through the urethra.
Teach your child to go the bathroom several times every day.
Teach your child to wipe the genital area from front to back to reduce the chance of spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra.
See or call your child's health care provider after they finish taking antibiotics to make sure that the infection is gone.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor right away if the following symptoms develop: (These may be signs of a possible kidney infection.)
Back or side pain
Also call your doctor if your child has already been diagnosed with a UTI and the symptoms come back shortly after finishing antibiotics.
At any time in the future, call your health care provider for symptoms of a bladder infection:
Blood in the urine
Foul or strong urine odor
Frequent or urgent need to urinate
General ill feeling (malaise)
Pain or burning with urination
Pressure or pain in the lower pelvis or lower back
Wetting problems after the child has been toilet trained
White B. Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections in children. Am Fam Physician. 2011 Feb 15;83(4):409-15.
Williams G, Craig JC. Long-term antibiotics for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Mar 16;(3):CD001534.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.